It looks so very 2020.
The German soccer league Bundesliga’s match between Borussia Mönchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen on May 23 used cardboard pictures of fans to fill the seats at Borussia-Park in Moenchengladbach, Germany. Also included were cutouts of legendary players of Borussia Mönchengladbach’s past. The visitors, Borussia Mönchengladbach, were also represented. In all, there were 20,000 cardboard cutouts, Yahoo Sports reported.
The match was played without actual fans due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Other leagues around the world are discussing similar plans – the Hungarian first division soccer match featuring Ferencvarosi TC against Debreceni VSC had cardboard cutouts as well — plans that may be used in American when professional sports get going again. At least initially, fans aren’t expected to be allowed to attend games.
The Post’s Andrew Marchand reported that ESPN, Fox, NBC, CBS and Turner Sports have discussed experimenting with virtual reality to enhance the at-home viewing experience, by superimposing realistic-looking fans onto screens.
“How do we produce TV if we were starting from scratch and wanted to take advantage of everything that is out there and we didn’t want the show to suffer?” Fox Sports executive vice president Brad Zager said.
Added ESPN’s executive vice president of production Stephanie Druley: “Audio becomes a big issue. Now, you can pick up everything that is being said. We have had discussions about really leaning into the audio as part of the broadcast.”
“If you did that, would you put things on a very quick delay? Yeah, you probably would. We learned a lot from the XFL and our ability to mic and have the kind of audio access we had.”